Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Noertker, Bill

Noertker, Bill, bassist, composer, educator; b. Pasadena, CA, 16 February 1961.

Noertker studied with various people, including bassist Putter Smith, cornetist Bobby Bradford, and bassist Mandy Flowers, but learned mostly on the bandstand, and by listening and transcribing what he heard on records. Since 1990 he has composed over 150 pieces of music for jazz combo.  Noertker played trombone in grammar school, but when he got braces, it was too painful to continue. In 1974, while at San Gabriel High School, a friend gave Noertker his first electric bass. He began attending jam sessions and playing in heavy metal groups. He was strongly influenced by the melodic/contrapuntal rock bassists John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, and Roger Glover. In his sophomore year, a teacher gave him a Count Basie record with Ray Brown on bass. This changed his listening habits entirely.  In 1978, Noertker began his studies in anthropology, sociology, and religious studies at Occidental College. His particular emphasis was in cultural syncretism. So me of his fellow students introduced him to the avant garde music of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Also at this time he was introduced to soul music, reggae music and classical music. Again his listening habits changed.  In 1983, Noertker learned that the renowned cornetist Bobby Bradford was teaching at Pasadena City College. He went there to study with him. In Bradford's course, "Afro-American Music History", Noertker embraced the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Charles Mingus, and especially Duke Ellington.  His listening habits became expansive and diverse. In 1985, Noertker moved to San Francisco. In 1987 he studied composition under the tutelage of Aldo Ryzy-Ryzky while a member of the experimental art rock  band, Bardo. At this time he switched from fretted to fretless electric bass. In 1989, Bardo disbanded, and Noertker, along with other former Bardo members Annelise Zamula (reeds, flute) and Dave Mihaly (drums), formed the After the End of the World Coretet, in which Noertker was the primary composer. These three were joined by various fourth and fifth members (including Tracy McMullen -reeds, Jon Birdsong-cornet, Graham Connah-piano, Eva Festa-violin) during their heyday from 1989-1996. In the late 1990s, Noertker traveled to Europe, to soak up the culture and play music. Upon his return he finally switched from electric to upright bass. In 2001 he formed his own group, Noertker's Moxie, as a vehicle for his compositional ideas. He is joined in Noertker's Moxie by his long-time musical co-collaborator, saxophonist/flutist Annelise Zamula. Many other fine bay area musicians have performed with Noertker's Moxie, including Jim Peterson (saxes, flute), David Slusser (tenor sax), Yehudit (five string electric violin), Jenny Maybee (piano), Hugh Schick (trumpet), Rob Ewing (trombone), Beth Snelling (cello), Niels Myrner (drums), Rolf Wilkinson (drums), Dave Mihaly (drums), and Jason Levis (drums).  Inspired by his travels, in 2001 Noertker composed and performed his three part suite, Sketches of Catalonia, an ode to Salvador Dali, Joan Miro, and Antoni Gaudi. He also began work on the Blue Rider Suite (inspired by the art of Paul  Klee, Vassily Kandinsky, and Franz Marc).  Also in 2001, Noertker and saxophonist Rent Romus began producing the Static Illusion/Methodical Madness music series, which presents two creative music concerts per month at the Musicians Union Hall in San Francisco.

Bardo: The Unfolding of Elmer Mattress (1988), Snog Jam (1988); Mike Elias: Happy Dog (1990); After The End Of The World Coretet: Quaternity (1993), 13 (1995), South Of the Border (unreleased studio recording), Live at Yoshi's, Vol.1 and 2 (unreleased); Trance Lucid: Vigil (2000); Rent Romus' Lords Of Outland: Avatar in the Field (2001); The Metal Quan Yin: Destinations Suite (2002); Noertker's Moxie: Sketches of Catalonia, vol.1: Suite for Dali, (2003), 7 Days in February (2004), Haiku Songs (2004), The Juggler (2004), Sketches of Catalonia, vol.2: Suite for Gaudi (2005), Sketches of Catalonia, vol.3: Suite for Miro (2005)

Contact information:
(415) 905-4425
Bill Noertker
912 Cole St. #279
San Francisco CA 94117
Edgetone Records
P.O.Box 2281
El Cerrito CA 94530

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